The Justice Department’s high-profile Espionage Act case against me collapsed on July 15, with all 10 felony charges dropped, when I was sentenced to community service after entering into a plea agreement for a minor misdemeanor. During the sentencing hearing, the judge clearly set the tone for holding the executive branch of our government accountable. He expounded on the judicial branch’s role as final arbiter of the law, while noting that the basis for the American Revolution was British tyranny in the colonial era.
Over more than a year, my case became a disturbing illustration of “off the books,” irresponsible government behavior that is increasingly alien to the Constitution. The government’s penchant since Sept. 11, 2001, for operating in secrecy and hiding behind an executive branch “state secrets” doctrine has damaged our long-term national security and national character. It has, by sacrificing Americans’ general welfare and civil liberties, given rise to a persistent military-industrial-intelligencecongressional surveillance complex.
Thomas Drake was a senior executive at the National Security Agency